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Which Vitamin is Good for Eyes?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 26/01/2024
  • 2 min read

Your eyes are one of your most precious assets. They allow you to see the beauty of the world, read your favourite books, and connect with your loved ones. But did you know that your eyes also need proper nutrition to function well and stay healthy?

Just like the rest of your body, your eyes depend on various vitamins and minerals to protect them from damage and prevent diseases. Some vitamins are especially important for your eye health and vision, as they play a vital role in maintaining the structure and function of different parts of your eye.

This article will explore the best vitamins for eye health and how to get them from food or supplements.

Vitamin Required for Maintaining Good Eyesight

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is one of the most essential vitamins for eye health and vision. It helps you see in low-light conditions by enabling your retina to convert light into nerve signals sent to your brain. This best eye vitamin for blurry vision also lets you maintain a clear cornea, the outer layer of your eye that protects it from infections and injuries.

Without enough vitamin A, you may experience night blindness, a medical condition in which you have difficulty seeing in the dark or adjusting to changes in light. You may also develop xerophthalmia, a condition characterised by dry, irritated, and inflamed eyes that can lead to blindness if left untreated.

To prevent deficiency of vitamin A, eat foods rich in vitamin A or its precursor, beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a plant pigment that your body can convert into vitamin A as needed.

Some of the best food sources of vitamin A and beta-carotene are:

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Carrots

  • Red peppers

  • Pumpkins

  • Squash

These foods are also high in antioxidants, which help combat free radicals that can impair eye cells. So, regularly include them in your diet to boost your eye health and vision.

Vitamin E

This vitamin for eyesight is a powerful antioxidant. It helps protect eye cells from oxidative suffering induced by free radicals. Free radicals are sensitive molecules that can harm eye tissues and cause inflammation, leading to eye diseases.

Studies have shown that a high vitamin E intake may reduce the risk of cataracts and AMD, two leading causes of vision loss in older adults. Cataracts are cloudy patches in the eye lens that impair vision. AMD is a degeneration of the macula, the retina's central part, responsible for sharp and detailed vision.

To get enough vitamin E, eat foods that are rich in this vitamin, such as:

  • Almonds

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Peanuts

  • Safflower oil

  • Soybean oil

These foods are also excellent sources of healthy fats, which can facilitate reducing cholesterol and blood pressure and improve overall health. So, snack on some nuts and seeds or drizzle some oil on your salads and stir-fries to give your eyes a dose of vitamin E.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C protects your eyes from UV light damage, which can cause cataracts and AMD. Stimulating collagen, a protein that gives structure and strength to the eye tissues, such as the cornea and the sclera, Vitamin C also supports eye health.

Studies have shown that a high vitamin C intake may lower the risk of cataracts and AMD, especially when combined with other antioxidants, such as vitamin E, zinc, and carotenoids. Vitamin C also helps slow down the progression of these eye diseases and improves visual acuity.

To get enough vitamin C, include veggies and fruits rich in this vitamin, such as:

  • Citrus fruits

  • Berries

  • Broccoli

  • Peppers

  • Tomatoes

These foods are also high in fibre, which can help stabilise blood sugar and cholesterol levels and prevent diabetes and heart disease, which can affect eye health. So, enjoy some fresh fruits and vegetables or drink juice to boost your eyes' vitamin C.

B Vitamins

B vitamins are a set of eight vitamins that have different roles in your body. They support nerve function, reduce inflammation, and control your homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is a type of amino acid that can ruin your blood vessels and raise the chance of cardiovascular diseases, which can further affect your eye health as well.

Studies have shown that a high intake of B vitamins may lower the risk of glaucoma, optic neuropathy, and AMD. Glaucoma is a disorder that results in increased pressure in the eye, which can harm the optic nerve and cause vision loss. Optic neuropathy is a condition that disturbs the optic nerve, which different factors, such as injury, infection, or toxins, can cause.

To get enough B vitamins, include the following in your diet:

  • Whole grains

  • Eggs

  • Dairy products

  • Meat

  • Fish

  • Leafy greens

These foods are also high in protein, which can help build and repair your eye tissues and muscles.

Other Essential Nutrients for Good Eye Health

Carotenoids

Carotenoids are plant pigments that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They give colour to many fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, tomatoes, and spinach. Some carotenoids are essential for your eye health, as they accumulate in the macula.

The two most essential carotenoids for your eye health are lutein and zeaxanthin. These carotenoids protect your macula from blue light and oxidative stress, which can damage your eye cells and cause AMD. They also help filter out harmful light rays and improve your contrast sensitivity, which is your ability to discriminate between shades of colour.

Studies reveal that consuming more lutein and zeaxanthin could lower the chance and severity of AMD and cataracts, especially when paired with vitamins C, E and zinc. Lutein and zeaxanthin could also enhance visual performance and quality of life.

To get enough lutein and zeaxanthin, consume:

  • Kale

  • Spinach

  • Corn

  • Eggs

  • Orange fruits and vegetables

These foods are also high in other nutrients, such as fibre, folate, and vitamin K, which can benefit your overall health.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are vital fats with anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective benefits. They help preserve the structure and function of your retina and tear film. Your tear film is the narrow layer of fluid that coats your eye and keeps it wet and smooth.

Studies have shown that a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids may lower the risk and severity of dry eye syndrome, glaucoma, and AMD. Dry eye syndrome is a medical condition that makes your eyes feel dry, irritated, and uncomfortable.

To get enough omega-3 fatty acids, try the following:

  • Fatty fish

  • Flaxseeds

  • Chia seeds

  • Walnuts

  • Soybeans

These foods are also high in protein, which can help build and repair your eye tissues and muscles.

Zinc

Zinc is a trace mineral. It participates in many enzyme reactions in the eye, especially in the retina and choroid. The choroid is basically the blood vessels' layer and connective tissue that lies between the retina and the sclera, the white part of the eye.

Zinc helps your eye cells function properly and protects them from oxidative damage. It also helps transport vitamin A from your liver to your retina, where it is used to produce a pigment called rhodopsin. Rhodopsin is essential for your night vision and low-light vision.

Without enough zinc, you may experience night blindness, poor wound recovery, and an increased risk of infections. You may also have a higher risk of developing AMD and cataracts.

To prevent zinc deficiency, try the following:

  • Oysters

  • Beef

  • Pork

  • Chicken

  • Beans

  • Nuts

These foods are also high in iron, which can help prevent anaemia and improve your blood circulation, which can benefit your eye health.

Selenium

Another trace mineral, selenium, exhibits antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps support the function of glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme that protects your eye from oxidative damage. Glutathione peroxidase is one of the most powerful antioxidants in your body, and it is found in high concentrations in your eye.

According to some research, cataracts and glaucoma may be less likely to develop in people who consume selenium in adequate amounts. It is worth mentioning that this mineral works well with vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids. Selenium may also have a protective effect against AMD.

To get enough selenium, eat the following foods:

  • Brazil nuts

  • Tuna

  • Sardines

  • Eggs

  • Mushrooms

These foods are also high in protein, which can help build and repair your eye tissues and muscles.

Consequences of Excessive Vitamin Intake

The side effects of excess vitamins depend on whether they are water-soluble or fat-soluble.

  • Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the fat tissues and can pile up in the body, causing toxicity. Water-soluble vitamins, on the other hand, are easily removed from the body.

  • Some of the common side effects of excess water-soluble vitamins are:

  • Nausea, diarrhoea, and stomach cramps from too much vitamin C or zinc

  • Nerve damage, skin lesions, and liver problems from too much vitamin B6

  • Flushing, itching, and liver damage from too much niacin

  • Some of the common side effects of excess fat-soluble vitamins are:

  • Headaches, hair loss, and liver damage from too much vitamin A

  • Nausea, vomiting, and kidney damage from too much vitamin D

  • Bleeding, bruising, and haemorrhage from too much vitamin E

To avoid the side effects of excess vitamins, follow the recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) or adequate intake (AI) levels for each vitamin. Most people need these amounts of vitamins to meet their nutritional needs and prevent deficiency.

What is the Ideal Vitamin Intake?

Check out the following table to learn about the recommended dosage of a vitamin required for good eyesight.

Type of Vitamin  Recommended Daily Dose
Vitamin A 600 µg for women 700 µg for men
Vitamin B1 0.8 mg for women 1 mg for men
Vitamin B2 1.1 mg for women 1.3 mg for men
Vitamin B3 13.2 mg for women 16.5 mg for men
Vitamin B6 1.2 mg for women 1.4 mg for men
Vitamin B9 Adults need 200 mg of folate
Vitamin B12 Adults need 1.5 mg 
Vitamin E 3 mg for women 4 mg for men
Vitamin C 40 mg

Conclusion

The benefit of multivitamins for eye health cannot be overlooked. They help prevent cataracts, glaucoma, night blindness, and other eye diseases. However, excessive consumption can lead to other illnesses, such as kidney problems, hair loss, and skin conditions.

There are certain medical conditions in which, regardless of the vitamins you intake, you still have to count on medications and frequent doctor visits.

To deal with the hefty bills associated with such conditions, buy a health insurance policy with critical illness insurance. A health insurance policy covers your consultation charges and pharmacy bills. The in-built cashless insurance also allows you to get free-of-cost treatment at the insurer’s network hospitals.

FAQS

What is vitamin A, and why is it essential for eye health?

Vitamin A helps maintain a clear cornea. It produces a protein called rhodopsin, which allows you to see in low-light conditions. Vitamin A deficiency can induce night blindness and dry eyes.

How can I get enough vitamin A from my diet?

Vitamin A is found in animal sources, such as liver, eggs, and dairy products, and plant sources, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens. Beta carotene, a pigment your body converts into vitamin A, is also present in many colourful fruits and vegetables.

Where can I get vitamin C from?

Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, such as grapefruits, oranges, and lemons, as well as other fruits, such as strawberries, kiwis, and guavas. Vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and peppers, also contain vitamin C. Vitamin C supplements are widely available. Still, you should not exceed the recommended daily intake, as excess vitamin C can cause diarrhoea and kidney stones.

What are some wonderful sources of vitamin E?

You can get this vitamin from nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, and some fortified cereals. You can also get this from supplements, but consult your doctor before doing so, as high doses may have side effects or interact with other medications.

What are the benefits of vitamin E for eye health?

By preventing eye cells from being harmed by free radicals and unstable molecules, vitamin E acts as an antioxidant. These molecules can cause oxidative stress linked to the development of cataracts. Cataracts are like cloudy spots on the eye lens that can impact your eyesight.

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